Microsoft beefs up Skype for Business with new calling features

Microsoft has announced some new calling features are rolling out to Skype for Business with the aim of easing call queues. The two biggest additions are that of Auto Attendant and Call Queues. The former can answer and route inbound calls automatically, while the latter helps order calls so they're routed in the order they're received.

The two highlight features are joined by another new tool, Skype for Business Call Analytics. Available in preview, the dashboard lets IT administrators quickly pin down call issues.

Here's a quick look at all of what Microsoft announced (opens in new tab) for Skype for Business users today:

  • Availability of Auto Attendant and Call Queues, two new calling features in Skype for Business Cloud PBX.
  • Preview of the new Skype for Business Call Analytics dashboard, which provides IT admins with greater visibility to identify and address call issues.
  • New meeting room solutions from our partners, including Polycom RealConnect for Office 365, which enables customers to connect existing video conferencing devices to Skype for Business Online meetings; and the new Crestron SR for Skype Room Systems, which seamlessly integrates with the Crestron control and AV systems.
  • Availability of Enghouse Interactive's TouchPoint Attendant, the first attendant console for Skype for Business Online.

All of this follows up on what Microsoft is touting as a pretty successful past year for Skype for Business. The company says that the past 6 months alone have seen Skype for Business pick up iOS CallKit integration, a dedicated client for Mac, and expanded PSTN calling and conferencing features. And if numbers are your thing, Microsoft announced that more than one billion meetings per year are carried out on the Skype network, and Skype Business Online usage has doubled in the past year.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • On mobile too
  • Skype for Business should be renamed back to Lync.
  • So many people get confused when Skype and Skype for Business can't talk to each other...
  • You do know they can talk to each other right? I have a lot of contacts that I talk to daily that use normal Skype when I'm on my SfB.  
  • They can talk as long as the organization hasn't blocked that feature.
  • But they can! Even back then when it was called Lync.
  • Can we just get a half decent WP app??
  • Agreed the wp isn't even a win 10 app and can't be used with continuum how can you promote a desktop like experience when you can't have sfb work on it.... Ok sfb rant over.
  • The S4B app and Yammer apps are dreadful and as mentioned not UWP apps. It makes me wonder why they are avoiding UWP apps but new products, like Teams, come out and work fine in Continuum even if it doesn't have a Windows 10 app in the Store.
  • Ironically there are complaints about the app on iOS. There are things that work better in the WP 8.1 app than the iOS app
  • Hahaha
  • Microsoft Teams is a pretty ****** UWP app. It's at most a very basic application for mobile use, and it's even worse for Continuum use.
  • Does this update download via Office updates?
  • These sound related to Cloud PBX and the call analytics will be browser based I'd imagine. Really happy these features are here, hoping it's all CPBX regions right away
  • Also in browser sfb works with office 365 for business now.
  • With our old phone system, we have about 15 actual phone lines for 50 people.  Currently there's no way to share lines with Skype for Business so we'd have to pay for a number for each user. This make it totatlly out of our price range.  When are they going to change that?
  • Share those 15 phone lines (on prem, I assume) via "Cloud PBX with on-premises PSTN connectivity".
  • Would rather go all cloud but if you can share the 15 phone lines and allow 50 people to use them for outgoing calls while still allowing unlimited internal extension calling then that would work. Is that possible?
  • Yes. You just need to review features and pricing models with the various providers. Some charge by the line, but attach it to a user. Some charge purely by line. Some purely by number of users. You want one that charges by line, then, as @runbuh said, you'll probably need to attached to old-style phones for local connectivity. That's not a technical requirement, but is often needed (maybe always) to avoid being charged per person.